Lev 18:21 says:

You must not give any of your children to be sacrificed to Molech, for you must not profane the name of your God. I am the LORD

I feel it weird that the whole chapter is about unlawful sexual relationship but sandwiched between them is this one verse about child sacrifice. Why is it grouped together with sexual sins?

  • Vayikra / Leviticus 18:6-24 describes "The-Abominations" (הַתּֽוֹעֵבֹ֖ת) of "The-Nations" (הַגּוֹיִ֔ם) in order that behavior of the "Children of Yisrael" (בְּנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל) would not be considered a common practice (תּֽוֹעֵבָ֖ה). Commented Nov 10, 2020 at 15:14
  • Welcome to BHSX. Thanks for your question. Please take the tour (link below) to better understand how this site works. It is good to reference the Bible passage you ask about so I have added that to your question.
    – Dottard
    Commented Nov 10, 2020 at 18:36
  • 1
    Children are the direct (by)product of intercourse.
    – Lucian
    Commented Nov 11, 2020 at 2:02

2 Answers 2


Leviticus 18:21

"'Do not give any of your children to be sacrificed to Molek, for you must not profane the name of your God. I am the LORD.

Why is Leviticus 18 a whole chapter about sexual immortally but has that one verse about child sacrifice?

The answer can be found at the opening and closing of the chapter:

Leviticus 18:3

You must not do as they do in Egypt, where you used to live, and you must not do as they do in the land of Canaan, where I am bringing you. Do not follow their practices.

Leviticus 18:27

for all these things were done by the people who lived in the land before you, and the land became defiled.

These were sinful acts practiced by the Canaanites.


I will not sully the pages of this site by describing the truly horrid, lurid, disgusting and degrading practices of child sacrifice in various forms that existed in association with the pagan god, Molech.

The question here concerns the reason for a law banning such appalling, satanic practices in Lev 18 rather than the more logical place such as Lev 20:2-5.

The answer is a simple as it is "kinky": such child sacrifice was sometimes associated with cultic sexual practice; that is, some pagan practices use child sacrifice as a means for arousing sexual desire. As such it is entirely appropriate to include at least a passing reference to these ideas amongst the laws banning deviant sexual behaviour.

I believe that this is conformed by the addition in the same verse, "neither shalt thou profane the name of thy God."

Ellicott also observes:

(21) And thou shalt not let any of thy seed.—Literally, And thou shalt not give any of thy seed. Those who violate the sanctity of the marriage ties will readily sacrifice their children. Hence the prohibition to offer up their children to idols follows the law about unchastity.

The Cambridge commentary offers another reason:

  1. A more suitable position for this precept would be at the end of the laws in Leviticus 18:7-23. It occurs in a developed form in Leviticus 20:2-5. Its sudden interposition may be accounted for by remembering the condemnation of idolatry under the figure of unfaithfulness to the marriage tie (cp. the expressions in Leviticus 20:5 a), see Jeremiah 3:1 ff. For the worship of Molech (Milcom), the god of the Ammonites, see Barnes (C.B.) on 1 Kings 11:5.

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